Commander Robert L. Byers, USN, 43, of Hollywood, Md., passed away April 7, 2014, at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
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CDR Byers, son of Jimmy and the late Linda (Boling) Byers, was born on Oct. 19, 1970, in Phoenix, Ariz.
CDR Byers began his Naval career in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) at Georgia Institute of Technology. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy in June 1994. He then proceeded to Pensacola to earn his wings of gold and was designated an unrestricted Naval Aviator in October 1996.
CDR Byers served in Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light FOUR EIGHT (HSL-48) from October 1997 to October 2000. While flying the SH-60B Seahawk, he deployed aboard the USS SIMPSON and the USS MCINERNEY and was assigned the detachment Operations Officer and squadron Aviation Safety Officer.
CDR Byers was selected for the Naval Post-Graduate School/Test Pilot School Cooperative Program in 2000. He completed a year of academic work at the Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterey, Calif., and upon graduation from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School with Class 123 in June 2003, he also earned a Master of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He then served for two years as an H-60 engineering test pilot at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron TWO ONE (HX-21).
CDR Byers returned to the fleet for his second sea tour with HSL-48 from July 2005 to December 2007. He served as the Officer-in-Charge of the SH-60B helicopter detachment deployed aboard the USS NICHOLAS and managed the execution of over 850 operational flight hours in direct support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM and OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM during a seven-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea. As the squadron Operations Officer, he was responsible for managing the execution of over 5,446 mishap-free squadron flight hours across 10 separate deployable squadron detachments.
In December 2007, CDR Byers returned to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School as a Rotary Wing Flight Instructor and Aviation Safety Officer. In addition, he served as a technical consultant for Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and for NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.
CDR Byers reported to the Naval Air Systems Command in January 2010 as the Avionics Systems Project Officer (ASPO) for the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter in the Multi-Mission Helicopter Program Office (PMA-299).
CDR Byers returned to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in March 2012 as a Rotary Wing Flight Instructor and Safety Officer.
CDR Byers has over 2,555 flight hours in over 30 different rotary and fixed wing aircraft. His personal decorations include, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with five gold stars, and Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star.
He was an avid guitar player, Corvette aficionado, Sunday school teacher and devoted, involved father and husband of strong Christian faith.
CDR Byers was preceded in death by his mother, Linda Boling Byers; grandmother, Lois Hunt Boling; grandfather, Jerry Byers; and his grandmother, Wynell Byers.
In addition to his father, Jimmy Byers, he is survived by his wife, Diane; two sons, Liam and Caden of Hollywood, Md.; stepmother, Mita Byers of Woodbine; sister, Amy Stiglic (Thomas) of Charleston, S.C.; brother, Christopher Byers of Cumming; and grandfather, James Leon Boling of Cumming.
Memorial services will be held Friday, April 18, at 10 a.m. at Cumming Baptist Church, with the Rev. John Cromartie officiating. The family will receive friends on April 17 from 5-8 p.m. at Ingram Funeral Home. Interment will follow in Sawnee View Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the CDR Rob Byers Memorial Fund at https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/lfd4/cdr-rob-byers-memorial-fund.
Condolences to the family may be made at www.brinsfieldfuneral.com.
Ingram Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of arrangements.
Ingram Funeral Home
210 Ingram Avenue
Cumming, GA 30040
Published in Forsyth County News from Apr. 14 to Apr. 19, 2014